Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday October 5, 2009
The Key Moment: Tony Stewart and his team elected to change two tires on the final stop to take the lead. Stewart held off a determined late-race challenge from Jeff Gordon to score the win.
In a Nutshell: Another McRace on another McTrack. The status quo is Toto-ally unacceptable unless you have the brains of a scarecrow.
Dramatic Moment: Early in the final run, Gordon was closing quickly on Stewart’s red Chevy.
Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle staged a prolonged side-by-side battle for the lead during the middle stages of the race.
There was some decent racing towards the back of the top 10.
Undramatic Moment: The whole rest of the race.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
As good as Greg Biffle’s car was on just two fresh tires, why did his team elect to go with four new tires late? For that matter, as good as Jimmie Johnson’s car was on four fresh tires, why did Chad Knaus elect to change only two tires on the No. 48 team’s final pit stop?
If Dale Earnhardt’s stricken Chevy had in fact dropped fluid on the track to bring out the final caution, there sure didn’t seem to be a whole lot of effort to clean it up once the yellow flew. Maybe NASCAR just didn’t want another fuel mileage snoozer finish?
There’s a lot not to like about Tony Stewart, but you have to admire a guy who gets out of a winning Cup car and is more excited that he has a chance to run a dirt late model later that evening than at winning the big race.
For all the criticisms of ESPN/ABC’s NASCAR coverage (and a lot of it is valid) has anyone else noticed that they’re now featuring long segments of coverage without commercial interruption late in the race? The network is also doing a lot better job focusing on where the on-track action is rather than focusing the lead hypnotically on the leaders as they run several seconds apart.
I’ve been told more than once that I’m a simpleton. But I don’t get the uproar over the Nos. 48 and 5 teams being warned that their cars were “nearly” outside the limits of being legal after Dover. There are rules that dictate what’s legal and what’s not. It’s the crew chief and the team’s job, nay their obligation to push that envelope to its ripping point — without actually crossing the line — in the search for speed. “Nearly legal” is like “almost pregnant.” Either you is or you ain’t. Gee, the most successful team on the circuit is bringing cars to the track that push the limits of the rules. Color me surprised. Somewhere, Junior Johnson is browning his overalls laughing.
Leading analysts predict Ford will sell more cars than GM by 2012. You have to wonder if Ford might win another Cup race before then. So much for “Win On Sunday, Sell on Monday.”
Ripped from the headlines: Fans can be a part of a Foreigner video at Fontana next weekend! Sure, one final act of rebellion before you get a haircut, stop dressing stupid, and apply for Social Security! Hey, you know if it’s on Rhino Records, it’s going to be a class act.
It’s a pet peeve of mine I’ve mentioned before. The only racers who are really fast on “two tires” are on motorcycles. Greg Biffle was not fast on “two tires.” I counted them. The 16 car had four tires, two of them fresher than the other two.
So is AFLAC paying the bills for Carl Edwards as his broken foot heals? I’m thinking a lot of repetitive ad-weary fans would love to see AFLAC serve Edwards up a heaping plate of Duck McNuggets.
Just when the whole George Gillett/RPM/Yates story seemed it couldn’t get any more bizarre, this week the possibility of an investment by a member of the Saudi royal family emerged. Remember the adage from creative writing classes in high school? Four things sell a story: religion, royalty, sex, and mystery. “Oh, my God, I’m pregnant!” sighed the princess. “I wonder who done it?”
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
Saturday at Kansas worked out a lot better for Joey Logano than Sunday’s Cup event. His race started off with a spin on Lap 2. Then, in trying to get back to the front, Logano ran into the back of Elliott Sadler who had checked up for a wreck in front of them.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s weekend started out well with an outside pole qualifying effort. Early in the race, Junior led more laps than he has at any event since Talladega this Spring. But a lost lug nut on a pit stop torpedoed the No. 88 team’s effort, while an oil pump belt failure just ended Earnhardt’s misery. Earnhardt, who turns 35 next Saturday, had better either refocus on racing soon or just settle for the wad of money he’s already earned for mediocrity and a famous last name.
Kansas was another disappointing day for Richard Childress Racing. Casey Mears finished 15th, while Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, and Kevin Harvick struggled home 21st, 23rd, and 24th, respectively.
Matt Kenseth’s Ford dropped a valve, forcing Kenseth to endure his first DNF since he lost an engine at Las Vegas.
You think the guys at Michael Waltrip’s fab shop are ready to throw an early retirement party for their boss just to keep him from tearing up any more cars?
My guess is that Kyle Busch has about had it with dominating Nationwide races only to get passed in the final ten laps by teammate Joey Logano. With Yoda-like wisdom young master Busch noted, “This sucks.”
Bobby Labonte and the 71 team lost the newest car in their fleet thanks to an accident not of their own making.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
A timely caution flag fell perfectly for Juan Pablo Montoya, who had a tire equalizing under green.
Greg Biffle started 31st but an early two fresh tire stop allowed him to move up into the top 5, a position he rarely relinquished all day.
When Kurt Busch slapped the wall hard late in the race, it appeared his day was over. Somehow, he soldiered on to an 11th place finish.
Given their level of support and his part-time status as a driver, the Wood Brothers and Bill Elliott can take some pride in their 19th place run. There are a lot of teams with a lot more money that would have welcomed that finish.
What’s the Points?
Mark Martin held onto his points lead and is now eighteen points ahead of Jimmie Johnson, who remains second in the standings. (And Charlie Brown almost got his kite past the Kite-Eating Tree.) Juan Pablo Montoya remains third, now trailing Martin by 51 points.
The race win moves Tony Stewart up a spot to fourth in the standings, closing to within 67 of Martin. Stewart’s advance thrusts Kurt Busch back a spot to fifth, while Denny Hamlin remains sixth, the final driver within 100 points (actually 99) of the lead.
Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle each moved up a spot to seventh and eighth in the standings, while Ryan Newman fell two spots to ninth. Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne each advanced a spot to tenth and eleventh, while Brian Vickers is now the Chase’s “cellar dweller” in twelfth.
Kyle Busch takes over the “Bill Murray/Meatballs – It just doesn’t matter” spot, 13th in the standings. Matt Kenseth falls to 14th.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one three cans of lukewarm Schlitz. It was actually somewhat better than expected (gas mileage didn’t decide the race) but we live in an era of diminished expectations.
Next Up: As it struggles to capture the hearts of fans and better TV ratings, the circuit heads off to Fontana. Wait a second: Fontana, one of the most relentlessly insipid tracks on the circuit? Jezum Crow, Pa, is this going to be the last season that Brian France allows the NFL programming honchos to draw up the Chase schedule?
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
What I do not understand about the 5 and 48 cars, is if they were legal why they can not bring them back to the track?
Did anyone see all the empty seats at the Jacksonville game? Looked like some of the Cup races this year.
I can’t wait till next weeks “White Bread Vanilla Pudding Rice Cakes Powdered Sugar Milque Toast 500” Presented by Pepto Bismol from Fontana.
Watching that dog drop a deuce during the Clint Bowyer interview was more entertaining than this race.
oh hum….hendrick, i mean stewart/haas won.
in church sunday am, before service, us race fans were talking about jr’s spectacular starting spot. the cynic that i am, said “watch, he’ll rim ride and hit the wall or will have pit issues”…sure wished i could pick the winning mega game lottery numbers like i called the jr race results from sunday.
My guess is that the 5 and 48 weren’t barely within the limits but barely outside. It’s easier for NASCAR to say barely within and issue a warning than saying barely outside and having to deal with those ramifications. Once again that’s just my guess but I am with Matt, I don’t see why anything would be said (especially to the media) if the cars were barely within the limits. I mean, that’s the whole point.
I thought the race was decent just for the fact that there were a fair amount of lead changes (I know that’s a BS stat) and there was some passing. On the downside, as always, whomever got out front could drive away. (They’ve really got to fix that).
Hey, BadWolf: Now THAT’S FUNNY!!! The races in Fontana are the only ones that I do my best to have something else to do so I can’t justify watching them. Next week I’ll be sitting in my kitchen watching the linoleum peel.
here’s something to think about….can jr stay in top 25 in points at the end of the season? he’s only got to slip 3 more spots.
Well, first, and this attacks yet again the “credibility” of NA$CRAP!
HOW CAN NA$CRAP TELL A TEAM OR TEAMS NOT TO BRING CARS THAT ARE LEGAL BACK TO THE TRACK?
AND! Does ANYONE really believe these cars were “legal”? When an apparent “simple push” would move the body enough to “make it legal” (isn’t that what they claimed made it too close to tolerance to begin with?)
I vote for the FACT they WERE out of spec, but NA$CRAP simply did not want to BIAS the “CHASE”!
And second, lets see now, but let me refer you to my nic, THE TURNIP! (AS IN DUMB AS)
We now have the ten (10) race “chumpionship” battle going on, that is ONLY for TWELVE (12) drivers!
So my learned sports fans! My very succinct question, and one the befuddles the jesus out of me! IS?
HOW CAN A COUPLE OF THESE TWELVE (12) CHUMPIONSHIP DRIVERS FINISH 22ND, AND 37TH?
Again I ask, “I thought ONLY twelve (12) drivers were in the running for the chumpionship?”
How can a couple of them finish 22 & 37?
Shouldn’t that really be 11th & 12th?
As I said, I am befuddled! (at best)
Wow, Matt, no mention of how NASCAR told Brad Keselowski not to race hard against Chase cars? I thought you’d be all over that.
Otherwise great column as usual.
I didn’t realize there was a lot of things NOT to like about Tony Stewart . I suspect a majority of race fans would agree with me .
NASCAR gives the teams a tolerance of .070 and from what I’ve read the #48 was .006 over the TOLERANCE, not under. To me, if your OVER the tolerance you should be penalised. Now if they, the #48, was UNDER by .006 that’s different. Am I correct, that the #48 was OVER by .006? I know .006 isn’t much but NASCAR already gave them .070 to stay WITHIN!
“Chevy clinched this year’s manufacturer title – their seventh in a row. “
Boy…if Toyota had done that the world of nascar would be turned on it’s head. There would be one test after another until they “found something”.
Was it in ’07 when chevy won 2/3rds of the season and everything was fine? And the very next year Toyota won a lot and nascar had to test those engines.
Boy, if only Hendrick would switch to Toyota!
There was a race yesterday? Oops, I forgot.
Did anyone notice the empty seats at this big race track that has only 80,000 seats and wants a second date.
What’s the difference between a body being .006” off center and a motor being .17” too big? Apparently $200,000.
now how exactly does dale jr being more ‘focused’ prevent him from having a loose lug nut and losing the oil pump belt? you sure like to judge but can’t take any criticism..time to come out of the closet matt
Yeah, I agree with Mark – I sure didn’t realize there were a LOT of things not to like about Tony Stewart. Like what exactly? Maybe in the interest of keeping us race fans informed we can get a top ten list at some point.
Read the current news pieces again. The #48 and the #5 were NOT told they could not bring the cars back to the track. In fact, the #48 team has already said they are bringing the same car to Charlotte. NASCAR simply warned them the cars were very close to the tolerance and they might want to take a look at it before an adjustment or modification later on before the next race makes the cars illegal.
Would you be happier with Fontana still on Labor Day and Atlanta in the Chase? Be happy that NASCAR pulled their heads out of their butts long enough to make that decision. So far its been successful, with Atlanta having a great race and much more people in the stands than in March. We’ll see this weekend how Fontana does with their new date. I know I’ll be at the track enjoying the race. I’m the king of closed-mindedness but at least I watch every race with no preconceived notions of what I’m about to watch. Or maybe I’m just a dumbass who’s easily entertained…
Gee, 10 people voted ZERO beers for the Kansas race yesterday
I’d like to see what Nascar would do to Robby Gordon if the inspector blew on his car and it went out .0001 (thats one ten thousandth to you non machinists out there).
Mr. McLaughlin, what exactly should Jr be refocusing on? He did his part. He didn’t call for an inopportune pit stop, he didn’t leave the lug nut off, he didn’t ask for another inopportune pit stop, he didn’t adjust the car to loose, and he didn’t remove the oil pump belt. Think before you speak.
they’d crucify robby gordon. they’d fine, deduct points and suspend someone. na$car sure hates the owner/driver.
To tell you how much my once fanatical interest in nas$car has waned, I didn’t know who won the race till football was over. This is coming from a fan of 30 Years. And now California. Snore time.
There were more lead changes because there were two whole rounds of green flag pit stops. Usually, whenever there are green flag pit stops the number of lead changes is artificially inflated. As such, the fact that there were fewer cautions at Kansas than usual is why the lead change record was broken.
I’ve often wondered what NASCAR would do if Ford had won all these races this year. It seems it always OK for Chevy to win tons of races. You know if Chevy went a year with only 2 wins NASCAR would be changing the rules to favor the Chevy.
I am going to try to explain “what I think” the .006” vs. the .070” is. BECAUSE in typical NA$CRAP fashion they don’t really spell it out, so here goes:
First, I think the the measurement has a MAX dimension. Then a “tolerance” of +.070”!
So, if the dimension (spec) was 1.000 inches, the total limit would be 1.070”
But, it appears the car(s) actually measured 1.006”, thus they were still under the absolute max of 1.070” by .064”.
Again, I used 1.000” as an example.
Me thinks this is what NA$CRAP was really getting at!
And again I ask the question???? As a really stupid TURNIP!
HOW CAN NA$CRAP TELL A TEAM, OR EVEN WARN THEM, IF THE CAR IN QUESTION IS STILL IN SPEC, NOT TO BRING THAT CAR TO THE TRACK?
What happens if another car, NOT INSPECTED, fails this dimension next week? SUSPENSION? FINES? POINTS DEDUCTED? All because NA$CRAP did not warn them?
Credibility my friend, it is a matter of credibility!
There is none in NA$CRAP racing!
It is theater! Plain & simple!
I’m quite sure Carl Long can give an explanation of .006.
i thought jim hunter gave a good explanation as to why they warned the teams not to bring those cars back. he basically said they were so close that it is way too risky. he said it was asking a lot to put that much faith in nascar to be able to fixture the car the same exact way and come up with the same exact measurement. when you are talking about tolerances that close the least little thing could have caused them to be out. the way it sounded to me was that the cars were right there on the edge and if the wind blew a certain way it would have knocked them out of tolerance. so nascar was basically saying if you bring these cars back you are taking a pretty big risk that everything is gonna line up and measure the EXACT same.so rather than take a chance and force nascar’s hand at handing down penalties just go back and give yourselves a little more cushion.
as far as another car or team failing this is why they made this public. basically so everyone knows to not play it that close.
Wow, so much for the gray area. Smokey Yunick, the Wood Brothers, Holman and Moody, these guys wouldn’t stand a dawgs chance in todays NASCAR. I hate it, absolutely. Nobody can do anything innovative. I long for the days when King Brian abdicates for Nose Candy.